Rethinking D-E-S-P-A-I-R

“Take me to a different place

Where love is not illusion based

And fear is just a word they can’t define

Where I’ve heard hope and happiness

Are found in every beating chest

‘Cause all those hearts are more or less inclined

To give it all away without a fear of what’s to break

The answer that we never seem to find

The hand we always take disintegrates without a trace

And we’re the ones they’ve always left behind”


I think we educators can all agree there are plenty of reasons to despair right now. Nearly 1 BILLION reasons come to mind right off the bat. If that’s not enough to fret over, there’s the reminder that the voucher wolves are at the door. If you think influences outside of our great state don’t have a vested interest in funneling public dollars into the pockets of private investors in a charter takeover of public schools…think again. And while other states have figured out that teacher pay is directly tied to retaining veteran teachers and attracting new ones, Oklahoma lawmakers stubbornly continue to pass the buck for low teacher pay to district officials. I can no longer accept that they are blissfully unaware of Oklahoma’s rank at 49th for teacher pay nationally. Add these looming concerns to inequitable evaluations, stressful high-stakes tests, and the continued loss of teacher autonomy in curriculum and teaching practices, and we paint a pretty bleak picture for educators in our state.


However, I find it rather fitting that if you rearrange the letters in the word “DESPAIR”, you find the word “PRAISED”. I think my colleagues in education, and those who advocate on its behalf, deserve to be praised for continuing to fight the good fight despite the surplus of despair in our field.   Here are some other words you can make from the letters of DESPAIR: Dire, PAID, Spare, Repair, Spar, and of course…PRIDE.


“Now I let moments pass me by

But I refuse to leave my life

To fall between the cracks of my control

I was outspoken ‘til I broke open

All the chains imprisoning my soul

And if you try to swim the other way

Then they’ll never let you see another day

But I’ve been there before
I’ve been a solder in this war

If you take it in your stride

You just might see the other side”


Rather than telling you some reasons to hope, let me show you some reasons educators should be praised:

Teachers who get it.
File Jan 02, 11 07 43 AM

Legislators who get it.

Students who get it.
File Jan 02, 10 48 31 AM

Educators with a sense of humor.

Students with a  sense of humor.

Kids with enough HOPE to follow in our footsteps.

File Jan 02, 10 49 54 AM

Alex (left) and Stephen (right) will complete their degrees in Music Therapy and Music Education, respectively, this spring.  Alex wants to work with kids with special needs.  Stephen (and another student not pictured, Karlee) will teach music in #oklaed (hopefully).



And, of course, here are my own three reasons for clinging to hope rather than despair:

File Jan 02, 11 22 21 AM

#oklaed class of ’28, ’31, and ’32



“Help me understood the best is yet to come

Take me by the hand before I come undone

‘Cause all this emptiness has left me feeling numb…


But it’s darkest right before the sun”


Thank you, Sheppard, for the perfect theme song for this post, and possibly 2016.


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